Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a guide on what your tongue says about your health…

Dental Health Tongue Guide

If your eyes are the windows to your soul than your tongue has to be a window to your overall health.

When we think about our visit to your local dental practice we often picture the dentist checking our teeth but never our tongue. It might surprise you to know that during our dental health checks at Smile Essential dental practice the first thing we actually check is the tongue!

We check that it looks healthy and also that the other soft tissues, glands and throat are healthy before moving onto checking the teeth.

Now it’s time to stick out your tongue and check that you don’t match any of the descriptions below:

If You See White Patches on Your Tongue

White patches on your tongue signify oral candidiasis, which is an overgrowth of yeast or thrush. Try cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush or a tongue scraper every day for a few weeks. If the patches persist, their cause is likely an overgrowth of candida you should visit your dentist to see if they need to prescribe you an anti-fungal drug.


Black and Hairy-Looking

There are a few causes for a black hairy tongue, including yeast infections, diabetes, cancer therapies, and poor oral hygiene. A buildup of dead skin cells on your tongue’s papillae results in the hairy look. No medical care is needed for this condition; simply practice excellent oral hygiene by regularly brushing your tongue (with the aid of tongue scrapers, as needed), and the problem should not persist. Remember to also change your toothbrush regularly.


Ridges on Your Tongue

Ridges occur when your teeth press into your tongue. This usually happens while you sleep. Fortunately, the ridges require no treatment and go away with time.



Bumps/spots on Your Tongue

If you spot bumps on your tongue they are most likely close relatives of the cold sore. These can be caused by many things, including biting, smoking, and stress. Home remedies can work well to treat this perhaps try gargling warm salt water mouth rinses, eating food that is soft and cold as to not agitate the tongue. Avoid foods that might trigger a negative reaction such as greasy foods. Lastly, ensure good oral health care.


You can ensure you stay healthy and your tongue stays looking nice and pink by having a healthy diet, not smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. You should also maintain good oral hygiene this includes daily cleaning of the tongue.

Have a look at what we inspect at our dental health checks…

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Avoid costly mistakes when choosing a dentist with these 5 tips for choosing a new dentist…

Your smile plays a major role in how you perceive yourself and the impression you make on those around you. It’s long been known and many surveys show that your smile is what both men and women find most attractive above any other physical feature. It can gain people’s affections, reassure somebody and it can create confidence. But it can also hold you back if you’re not confident with your smile due to dental problems.

A great smile doesn’t just happen, it takes a good dentist, good advice and great at home dental care. The first step is getting the right advice from a dental practice you feel comfortable and confident with.

Here are our top tips for choosing a dentist:

  1. Check them out online. Look for dental reviews, check they are on the GDC register. Look at their website – do they look professional, friendly, what does their dental surgery look like? Will you feel comfortable there? Do they have any dental awards or dental accreditations such as BDA Good Practice that prove their credibility?
  1. What are your specific fears around dentists? If you’re scared of injections- do they offer anything to make it more comfortable? Many things can be done nowadays to overcome this problem one thing we do is to apply a numbing gel to the gum beforehand so it’s much more comfortable.
  1. Where are they? You need somewhere you are able to get to easily either for treatment or routine care. Travelling to far afield can lead to further anxiety. Perhaps look at one close to home or work. If you have to travel for more than 30 minutes it could cause further anxiety, so try to stay local.
  1. What are their prices are they affordable? Do they have a member’s plan that enables you to budget for your routine dental care and receive a discount if you do require treatment? A dentist should always give you a full treatment summary involving any costs when you go for your dental health check. Nobody likes surprise bills!
  1. Give them a call and see if the receptionist is friendly, are they helpful and can they answer your questions? A good dental practice and customer experience starts with that first phone call. Dentists should be aware that potential new patients will be anxious and cater for this. Sometimes this phone call is an indication of the care you will receive.

We pride ourselves on delivering world class customer service and dentistry. Here’s why we think you should choose Smile Essential for your dental care.

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Teeth grinding explained..


Teeth grinding is medically known as a condition called bruxism. The painful symptoms of severe teeth grinding and clenching include headaches, jaw pain and even tooth damage.

Bruxism affects more than six million people in the UK. But the severity of the symptoms and the frequency of grinding varies. Most cases of bruxism (80%) are mild and occur subconsciously during sleep.

But, when it’s frequent and severe, grinding your teeth can aggravate the joints in your lower jaw, also known as the temporomandibular joints, or TMJ. Bruxism is usually associated with contributing factors, such as stress or anxiety.

Signs you may suffer from bruxism:

• Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak or open your mouth wide
• Limited ability to open the mouth very wide
• Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open or closed position
• Clicking, popping or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth (which may or may not be accompanied by pain)
• A tired feeling in the face
• Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite, as if the upper and lower teeth are not fitting together properly
• Swelling on the side of the face.
• Other common symptoms of TMJ disorders include toothaches, headaches/migraines, neck aches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Treatment for Bruxism include:

Mouth guards – can be effective in preventing wear and tear on the teeth caused by grinding but doesn’t stop you from grinding your teeth

Mouth splints – splints stop you from being able to lock your jaw together so they can stop you grinding and clenching.

Reducing stress – sometimes it’s difficult to make life less stressful. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be beneficial in helping you to manage your problems by changing the way you think and how you act.

Lifestyle – make some simple lifestyle changes, if you smoke then give up and don’t smoke before bed, reduce your alcohol consumption and take time out to enjoy some rest and relaxation daily.

Learn more about treatment options by clicking here…

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3 easy steps to take care of your childs teeth…

Taking care of your childs teeth

While your children can create healthy habits at any age, it’s easiest to teach and instil habits if you get them started early enough that it becomes the norm. Follow our 3 easy steps for taking care of your children’s teeth so they can benefit from a healthy mouth for life.

Step one: visiting the dentist

There is no need to ‘prepare’ your child for a visit to the dentist. It should be a casual visit, just like going to the shops. Book yourself a visit to the dentist and bring them with you. This way you can lead them by example and it will your child to get used to the practice and get to know the dentists. There is no need for a young child to be examined or sit in the dental chair at first. The most important thing is that we can build a great and relaxed relationship with yourself and also the child.

Step two: taking care with your child’s diet

It’s vital that children develop good eating habits. This will do more to protect their general health as well as dental health in later life.

• Ensure water is the main drink consumed if you want your child to have juice keep it strictly for meal times only
• Stick to regular meal times and discourage overly snacking
• Limit sugary foods sweets and fizzy drinks should be avoided as much as possible. These foods should be encouraged as treat foods and never foods that are consumed on a regular basis.

TOP TIP – cheese is great for snacking on and can be combined with many fruits such as apples, grapes and pear to give a delicious yet healthy snack.

Step three: tooth brushing

As soon as your baby has a tooth, brush it gently with a soft baby brush and a smear of toothpaste twice a day. Your baby will soon want to try brushing, and this should be encouraged even though they might just chew the brush a lot at first!

Children need to follow a very simple routine of using a fluoride toothpaste (appropriate for their age), brushing for two minutes and cleaning twice a day.

Give your child lots of praise, reinforce the message that they have very healthy teeth and show them how lovely and clean they are in the mirror.

Learn more about how we take care of your child’s teeth…

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Take a look at our dental care plan in Leicester…

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Smile Essential Dental Care Plan

Almost a thousand of our patients have now joined our practice membership plan – Smile Plan. It offers a simple way to budget for your dental care.

Members benefits include:

  • 6 monthly dental health checks. This includes a mouth cancer screening, all necessary x rays and photographs.
  • 6 monthly hygiene appointments. These appointments with the dentist/hygienist include a thorough assessment of your gum health, fresh breath treatment, techniques to prevent gum disease, periodontal advice, and most of all, the thorough removal of built-up plaque that causes decay and a polish that refreshes your smile.
  • 15% discount on most dental work you may require – including most cosmetic treatments.
  • 12-month guarantee on all restorative work (provided due care has been taken).
  • Priority appointments for your convenience.
  • Same day assessment of dental emergencies and dental pain, when the practice is open.
  • Dispensing of most antibiotics.

If you’re away from home it’s handy to point out the following benefits of the membership:

  • Emergency call out*
  • Dental insurance for treatment needed anywhere in the world as a result of accidental damage to your teeth*
  • Worldwide emergency call-out*

*Please see your individual practice plan term and conditions to see what exactly is covered.

At Smile Essential dental practice we are completely committed to providing our patients with the best quality dental care. We want to spend more time with our patients and provide prompt treatment using the latest techniques and best quality dentistry, we find our membership plan enables our patients to fully take care of their dental health.

If you require any further information about Smile Plan please contact our practice team on 0116 2891317 and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

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Diabetes and Dental Health…

Diabetes and dental health

What’s the Association Between Gum Disease and Diabetes?
Many people are surprised to discover the link between dental health and diabetes. Research has been ongoing for many years now and shows that there is an increased prevalence of gum disease among those diagnosed with diabetes.

If I Have Diabetes, am I at Risk for Dental Problems?
Managing your blood glucose levels is a crucial factor in deterring any likely problems. If your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled you are more at risk of developing serious gum disease, more so than non-diabetics.

What’s more is that serious gum disease may be a factor in causing your blood sugar to rise and make your glucose levels even harder to control.

Other oral problems associated to diabetes include: thrush, an infection caused by fungus that grows in the mouth, and dry mouth which can cause soreness, ulcers, infections and cavities.

How Can I Help Prevent Dental Problems Associated with Diabetes?
First and foremost, control your blood glucose level. Then, take good care of your teeth and gums, along with regular dental checkups every six months. To control thrush, a fungal infection, maintain good diabetic control, avoid smoking and, if you wear them, remove and clean dentures daily. Good blood glucose control can also help prevent or relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.

Do I Need to Tell My Dentist?
Having the most up to date information on your medical health enables us to offer you the very best care and advice possible. To be able to advise you accurately it’s crucial we have a full medical history to stop any problems from arising.

Need to register at a new dentist? Click here to see why you should choose us…

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When will my child start to lose their baby teeth?

When will my child lose her baby teeth?

When will my child start to lose their baby teeth, is a question we get asked often at Smile Essential Dental Practice by parents and eager children. Children start to lose their primary set of teeth, also known as baby teeth commonly called milk teeth because of their milky colour.

The age a child starts to lose their first set of teeth varies so don’t be alarmed if your child is early or late and seek advice from your dentist if you’re at all concerned.

Interestingly teeth often tend to fall out in the same order that they appeared. The first teeth generally fall out between the ages of 5 and 7 they are usually the bottom front two teeth followed by the top front teeth (central incisors), then the next two on either side of the bottom jaw, and finally, the two next to the top front teeth (the lateral incisors). Usually once these 8 teeth have been lost there tends to be a little break from the tooth fairy until the age of 10 – 12.

When your child starts this second phase of losing teeth aged around 10 – 12 it can take up to the age of 17 and it’s not unusual for it take up to 21 years old to lose the rest of the milk teeth.

Here are some other points you might like to know:

• New teeth may look bigger, especially those first few. That’s because they are!

• Adult teeth also tend to be less white than milk teeth – this is normal.

• New teeth can have pronounced ridges this is just because they haven’t been used yet for biting and chewing. They will eventually smooth over.

• Milk teeth don’t have roots when they fall out because they have been reabsorbed by the body

• Girls generally lose teeth earlier than boys

If you would like to know more about children health then click here…

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National Fresh Breath Day…

bad breath advice

Bad breath if we’re honest is a problem for most of us at some point in our life. That nasty whiff can have us turning up our nose and crinkling our toes faster than Usain Bolt running for the last bus home.

August 6th 2016 marks National Fresh Breath Day so we have scoured the internet and asked our dentists here at Smile Essential in Leicester about all things breath related so we can help make your life a little sweeter.

There are 3 main reasons why people suffer from bad breath. First of all, it can just come down to what you eat garlic, onions and coffee are all known to cause a stench. Then there’s dental hygiene. Many people think that brushing their teeth twice a day is enough to keep bad breath at bay, but they’re wrong. Over a third of your tooth surfaces are in between the teeth so if you’re not flossing then you are leaving behind plaque and food which is going to breed bacteria and cause a pong. Lastly, bad breath can be caused by an underlying medical cause for that, such as throat, nose or lung infections and sinusitis, bronchitis or diabetes.

How do I know if I have bad breath? There are a few ways to find out if you have bad breath. You could ask a close family member or friend for their honest opinion. Or you could lick the back of your hand and wait for the saliva to dry a little then sniff.

How can I tell someone they have bad breath? Telling someone they have bad breath obviously runs the very high risk of offending them. If you don’t have to meet the person too often then perhaps just casually offer them a stick of gum or a breath freshener. We liked these tips from wikihow

Exercise good oral hygiene when you’re around them –

After lunch say, “I’m going to go to the bathroom to quickly and brush my teeth; that dressing had so much garlic in it!”

Show them or talk about how you always keep floss and mouthwash in your desk because you cannot stand having bad breath.

Or if you feel close enough to that person perhaps you could be a little more direct –

“I noticed something, and I’m not sure if you’re aware, but your breath smells a bit off today”

“If the situation was reversed I would want someone to tell me, so I thought I’d let you know that you could use a breath mint right now.”

How can I keep my breath fresh?

Eat a balanced diet, including lots of veggies as it helps to promote a more alkaline environment, so the bad-breath-causing acid in your body balances out.

Snack on crunchy, healthy foods such as apples or carrots these can help to cleanse the surface of your teeth and remove any plaque build up – like a natural toothbrush.

Drink water throughout the day. This will help your mouths own cleansing abilities to avoid your breath turning stagnant and saliva sticky.

Brush, floss and clean your tongue every single day. Remove as much plaque build-up and food debris as possible from all areas of your mouth, not just the teeth surfaces reached with a toothbrush. Also, rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash once daily to keep bacteria at bay.

Chewing on fresh mint leaves or drinking mint tea will help to freshen your breath naturally.

Chew sugarless gum or mints which contain xylitol. Chewing gum increases salivary flow and helps remove some bacteria and staining, but you want to make it’s sugar-free so you’re not feeding the bacteria in your mouth and contributing to bad breath. Opt for a brand that contains the sweetener xylitol, which is antibacterial. It helps fight cavities and bacteria while improving the health of your teeth and gums.

Steer clear of cigarettes. Smoking not only dries out your mouth and body tissues, the nicotine actually squeezes the blood vessels so you’re not getting healthy saliva flow. This combo is what disrupts your mouth’s normal functioning process and leads to bad breath. To avoid this from happening, stop smoking or never start. Ever.

Visit your dentist regularly. They can carry out any hygiene work that’s’ required or look at an underlying problem.

If you need to schedule an appointment to see a dentist then take a look at our new patient package here…

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Braces for Adults Information in Leicester…

smiling and braces

Adult braces are becoming increasingly common. People want lovely straight teeth without damaging their teeth. Dental veneers and dental crowns were once the predominant type of dental treatment for those wishing to change the position of the teeth they cared about the most – the front teeth visible when smiling because they felt that being an adult, braces weren’t an option for them, or they simply didn’t want to commit the length of time it took to get their teeth straight.

We have seen huge advancements in dental medicine over the last decade and especially around orthodontics (Orthodontics is a type of dentistry that aims to improve the appearance, position and function of crooked or abnormally arranged teeth). Braces are becoming more commonly seen in people in their thirties, forties, fifties and sixties!

At Smile Essential Dental Practice we offer Anterior (Anterior means nearer the front) Alignment Orthodontics such as ClearSmile Brace. This works on moving the front teeth visible when you smile into a more desirable position. Which means that you get to straighten the teeth that matter to you most, in a fraction of the time it takes traditional orthodontics and because it doesn’t take as long it doesn’t cost as much as much as traditional braces.

Another reason people are more inclined to choose Anterior Alignment Orthodontics is that it is much more aesthetically pleasing. The dentist uses clear brackets rather than metal ones and the wire is covered with a white material, so they are much less visible than traditional metal train track braces. Though we find that most of our patients are just relieved that they can have the straight smile they’ve always wanted in just 6-9 months. Check out the appointment sequence here – Brace appointments are easier than you think…

How much do cosmetic braces cost? We’re always upfront about the cost involved in your treatment and provide you with a full treatment summary which lays out the sequence of appointments and the cost involved.

There are many options to finance your orthodontic treatment. We have a range of flexible options specially tailored to suit you and your needs. One of our most popular finance options is our 12 months 0% interest offer; it allows you to spread the cost of your new smile so you don’t have to make any lifestyle changes. You can see the various rates and options and work out what you can afford to borrow and the monthly costs with our handy online finance calculator .

Anterior Alignment Orthodontics are not suitable for everyone and you may require specialist treatment with an orthodontist. That’s why we offer FREE consultations to come in for a chat and an initial assessment. We currently offer complimentary teeth whitening to finish your new straighter smile perfectly. Call our friendly team to arrange a convenient appointment today.

Liked this article? Why not take a look at some before and afters of this fast affordable treatment…

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Smile Plan is a summer saver in dental emergencies…

dental plan emergency cover

Summer is officially here and whether you plan on holidaying at home in the UK or jetting off to somewhere a bit further we wanted to remind you of all the extra benefits you receive if your one of the 902 members of our dental plan – Smile Plan.

Most of our new patients join our membership plan to take advantage of the 15% discount on dental treatment and ensure their long-term dental health care. But more and more of our regular patients are joining Smile Plan because it offers a simple, flexible way to pay for your dental care. It costs just £12.40 per month and covers your regular 6 monthly dental health checks, hygiene appointments and if you do require any dental treatment we give you a nice little discount of 15% on the treatment.

Whilst benefiting from the regular care and treatments of Smile Plan it’s easy to forget some of the additional perks. A toothache, broken filling or facial swelling always seems to appear at the most inconvenient times, such as on holiday. But we have good news for you if you’re a member of the dental plan.

Covered in your membership is emergency callout cover, it can be provided by any dentist anywhere in the world that agrees to treat you, subject to the terms and conditions of the Smile Plan policy. You simply pay the emergency callout charge to the dentist concerned and collect a receipted invoice. This can then be processed upon your return for reimbursement from the insurers and you will be refunded the callout fee, minus the excess, up to the policy limit. This cover is designed to give you immediate pain relief treatment only; on your return book an appointment with us at the dental practice in normal hours to review and carry out any permanent treatment that may be required.

Our membership plan is specially designed with you, our patients in mind. Because at Smile Essential, we are totally committed to providing our patients with the best quality dental care in Leicester. We want to spend more time with our patients and provide prompt treatment using the latest techniques and best quality dentistry.

Here’s a summary of all the perks you can expect by becoming a member of Smile Plan –

• 6 monthly clinical examinations
• 6 monthly hygiene appointments with dentist/hygienist for: Scaling and polishing
• Assessment of gum health
• Fresh breath treatment
• Techniques to prevent gum disease
• Periodontal advice
• Oral cancer screening
• All necessary small X-rays
• 15% discount on most dental work you may require (including most cosmetic treatments)
• 15% discount on facial rejuvenation (not to be used in conjunction with other facial rejuvenation offers)
• 12 months guarantee on all restorative work (provided due care has been taken)
• Children of plan members will be treated under NHS arrangements
• Priority appointments
• Same day assessment of dental emergencies and dental pain
• Dispensing of most antibiotics in surgery – no need for a trip to chemist or to pay the prescription charge
• Emergency callout
• Dental insurance for treatment needed anywhere in the world as a result of accidental damage to your teeth
• Worldwide emergency callout

Download the membership brochure to find out more – Smile Essential Practice Membership Plan Brochure

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